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Friday, August 1, 2014

The Amish Blacksmith (The Men of Lancaster County, #2) by Mindy Starns Clark, Susan Meissner



New from bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner, The Amish Blacksmith (Book 2 in The Men of Lancaster County series) explores the men of an Amish community in Lancaster County, how their Amish beliefs play out in their unique roles, and the women who change their lives.

Apprenticed blacksmith Jake Miller is skeptical of Priscilla Kinsinger's innate ability to soothe troubled horses, especially when he has own ideas on how to calm them. Six years earlier, Priscilla's mother died in an awful accident at home, and Priscilla's grief over losing her mother was so intense that she was sent to live with relatives in Ohio. She has just returned to Lancaster County.

Not that her homecoming matters to Jake, who is interested in courting lighthearted Amanda Shetler. But Jake's boss is Priscilla's uncle, and when the man asks Jake to help his niece reconnect with community life, he has no choice but to do just that. Surprisingly, he finds himself slowly drawn to the beautiful but emotionally wounded Priscilla.

Jake then determines to prove to her that it's not her fault her mother died, but what he discovers will challenge everything they both believe about the depth of love and the breadth of forgiveness.



About The Authors 


S

Susan Meissner

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t driven to put my thoughts down on paper. I attribute this love for writing to a creative God and to parents who love books and more particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. My first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories I wrote when I was eight. My second-grade teacher gave me the journal I in which I recorded these poems and stories. To my knowledge I was the only student in her class that she gave a journal to; she must have seen promise in me. In high school my freshman composition teacher found all kinds of ways to encourage me to develop my skills as a writer. Without telling me beforehand, he read the first composition I ever wrote for him aloud to the class. That’s how much he liked it. I have never forgotten how it felt to hear him begin to read something to the entire class and realize it was something I had written.
I didn’t do a lot of writing in the years my husband was on active duty in the Air Force, when we were living overseas, or when we were raising our four children. When we moved to rural Minnesota in 1993 after seven years in the Air Force — five of them spent in Europe — I became aware of a gnawing desire to write a novel. I ignored it while the children were young, choosing to try writing articles for magazines. Nothing ever got published however, so I began to think my best days as a writer had already happened in high school with Mr. Barone.
In 1995, I was offered a job as a part-time reporter for my county newspaper. The publisher gave me my own weekly column, In 1998, I was named editor of the Mountain Lake/Butterfield Observer Advocate, the town’s weekly paper, after the county newspaper purchased it. I was honored to win several awards over the years, but the best part of my four years as editor was having my paper named the Best Weekly Newspaper in Minnesota by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 2002.
That year became a rather pivotal one for me as a writer. My beloved paternal grandfather died in July 2002 — my Papa — and his passing had a profound effect on me. I suddenly had an incredible urge to write a book; a novel. I knew I didn’t want to come to the end of my life having only dreamed of writing one. I resigned as editor of the newspaper, which was a very hard decision to make, and set out to write Why the Sky is Blue. It took four months to write and ten months to be accepted by a publisher and I’ve been writing novels ever since. My favorite genre is contemporary fiction with a historical thread running through it.
Currently, my husband is an associate pastor at a church in San Diego, and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. When I’m not working on a new novel, I enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, as well as spending time with my family, listening to or making music, reading great books, and traveling.


Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of the inspirational Million Dollar Mysteries, the Smart Chick Mysteries, and three standalone mysteries, as well as the nonfiction books The House That Cleans Itself and A Pocket Guide to Amish Life. Her novels include A Penny for Your Thoughts, Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels , A Dime a Dozen, A Quarter for a Kiss, The Buck Stops Here, The Trouble with Tulip, Blind Dates Can Be Murder, Elementary, My Dear Watkins, Whispers of the Bayou, Shadows of Lancaster County, and Under the Cajun Moon, and other books!

Mindy is also the author of numerous plays and musicals which have been performed all over the United States. She has written textbooks, articles, short stories, and more than 75 computer software manuals. Other writings appear in the anthologies What the Wind Picked Up (Inspirational Fiction), Death Knell V (Mystery Fiction), Divine Secrets of the Yahweh Sisterhood (Inspirational Anthology), and A Novel Idea (Inspirational Nonfiction).

A former singer and stand-up comedian, Mindy lives with her husband and two teenage daughters near Valley Forge, PA. She enjoys speaking to churches, civic groups, and libraries across the country. Her unique blend of humor and insight make her an audience favorite. 




My Review:
I loved The Amish Blacksmith, I don’t know much about horses, but I really came to appreciate these magnificent creatures of God. I loved some of the in-depth descriptions of the different breeds, which I never knew. I also learned about the feelings, just like I’ve seen in my dogs.
As the back of the book describes some of what you are going to read in this book, we see a lot of this through the eyes of Jake Miller, the young blacksmith apprentice. He knew Priscilla as a little girl, and found her charming, but he knew of the terrible tragedy that happened when she lost her parents.
Now Priscilla is back for a visit, she has a serious decision to make, and will as she states be returning to Indiana. You can feel an attraction between Jake and Priscilla, but then there is Amanda whom Jake is courting. These are very different relationships, and Jake’s boss and Priscilla’s Uncle has asked him to help his niece by introducing her around in their community,
There are some heart wrenching discoveries that happen in this story, and made me just keep turning the pages. I loved visiting this Amish Community, and spending time with these people. I even enjoyed the visit into the English area, even if they were wealthy, though that made it even more interesting.
Above all even with adversity and not knowing you were hiding a lot of pain, they put their trust and faith in God to lead their lives. A really great read, from beginning to end.

I received this book through Net Galley Reader Program and the Publisher Harvest House, and was not required to give a positive review.




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